Producers turn to crowd funding to make pilot of online TV show on ‘life and love in Sydney’

An international group of actors, producers, writers and directors have teamed up together to create an online TV show for which they are crowd-funding the production costs of the pilot, with the intention of selling the show overseas.

The Pozible campaign aims to raise $25,000 which will be used for the pre-production, film and post-production costs of episode one of The EX-O series.

Set in Sydney, The EX-O is a drama about three best friends and their addiction to the sharing of music as it also aims to convey what it is like to live and love in Sydney with the “belief that every individual has a soundtrack”.

The collective, working with boutique production company Soma Society, intend to then take the completed episode and sell it and the series as a whole to international markets where they have “strong contacts and keen interest”, the group outlines on the Pozible campaign page.

On why they would take the show overseas as opposed to selling it locally, executive producer Katie Barget told Mumbrella that it is a result of the “conservative” nature of the local market.

“It’s tricky as the Australian market is quite conservative so we have been told that due to our show being quite quirky, arty etc, that our purchasing audience will be overseas, however it is our intention to broadcast on local channels back home eventually.  It’s a shame as it seems that you still have to go outside your own market to get noticed by it,” she said.

“It’s the old adage of it’s who you know as much as what you know. We are ‘green’ in this industry and somewhat learning as we go. What we have on our side is positive energy. There are a lot of people telling us how hard it is, yet all we see are incredible people who won’t give up on The EX-O and keep pushing us, introducing us to the right people, while we stay on target, garnering more interest as we go.”

The Pozible campaign claims the show “delves into how our past relationships influence our present and future relationships” while claiming that the show’s key differentiator is that “it follows the belief that every individual has a soundtrack”.

Using this as a key theme, scenes throughout each episode will be enhanced by chosen songs, with each episode having its own playlist on Spotify allowing viewers access to the “music that can become part of the soundtrack to their own lives”.

On this unique relationship with Spotify, Barget told Mumbrella that the group has already approached the streaming service about the project “who were over the moon” that they went to them first.

“Spotify, unofficially, are our partners. We are in the process of setting up an ‘The EX-O’ public channel, which will house all the playlists from each episode as well as host our key characters’ soundtracks. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life, so they were the perfect choice.  Excitingly we have also secured Bertie Blackman’s newly released single ‘Kingdom of Alone’ for our first episode and Bertie has agreed to be our first live act in the TV series,” Barget said.

While the Pozible campaign will only account for 25 per cent of the estimated $200,000 costs of producing the pilot episode, the group explains on its Pozible page that the other 75 per cent of funds will come from grant funding and equity investors.

On why the group has turned to crowd-funding, Barget told Mumbrella: “Crowd funding allows the audience and community you’re building to come together and feel like they play a big part in ‘making this happen’. It’s a type of ownership that also allows the audience that ‘feel good factor.’ It’s also a great way to get brand awareness and come together in the spirit of reaching a goal.”

However, with four days to go, only $8,400 of the $25,000 goal has been pledged.

But if the Pozible campaign does not it the target Barget said the group has “further investment” and that they are “still accepting expressions of interest for additional financial input”.

She added: “Pozible was such a great learning curve for us. We have now onside the incredible girls from Cake PR for marketing and PR – if we ever do another crowd funding campaign we would take our learnings and do it so much better. We certainly learnt a lot, and especially around how much further you need to push a campaign beyond the likes of friends and family.

“It has definitely helped in terms of building awareness of The EX-O, a show that has not even been shot yet and already has a fan base.  This will only increase when we launch our social media teasers and public Spotify channel in the coming weeks.”

Pozible also offered the team a way to raise funds for the production costs of the pilot before having solid interest from a network.

“Due to The ex-o being an online TV series, not much development funding was available,” Barget said when quizzed on what other types of funding the show had acquired.

“We realised the development funding is only available to feature films and projects with broadcasters attached. Once we have interest from a network and investment we can apply for grants. With the influx of web based programming it seems that funding agents need to recognise this emerging medium – online seems to be a growing area for hungry audiences and it’s a struggle without the support of these agencies.”

Miranda Ward


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